ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart wasn’t making excuses following his team’s shocking 20-17 double-overtime loss to South Carolina on Saturday.
Smart was just stating facts, and the truth hurt the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs. The program’s 16-game home win streak was snapped by the three-touchdown underdog Gamecocks, along with 15 consecutive wins against SEC East opposition.
UGA out-gained South Carolina 468 yards to 297 yards, but they lost everywhere else, most importantly on the scoreboard.
“When a team scores on defense, it’s like a 90 percent chance they’re going to win, and we still almost overcame that,” Smart said after suffering his first home lost since his first season as UGA’s head coach in 2016, referring to a Pick-6 thrown by Jake Fromm in the first half.
“But you can’t turn the ball over four times and win.”
Fromm threw three interceptions, the final one coming off the hands of receiver Tyler Simmons in overtime, and he also fumbled a snap.
This, after Fromm had thrown 128 passes through five games this season without a turnover.
“I (also) felt like (South Carolina) won the line of scrimmage,” Smart said. “They played really physical, they rotated guys up front and did a better job against our run game than most people have as anybody who has done in the past.”
Even reliable kicker Rodrigo Blankenship had a rough day. After entering the contest 11-for-11 on field goal attempts, Blankenship had a 53-yarder blocked and missed a 42-yarder in the second overtime that would have extended the game.
South Carolina, meanwhile was turnover free and won with a quarterback who started the season third on the depth chart after freshman QB Ryan Hilinski was knocked out of the game in the third quarter.
“Our kids will continue to fight, we’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror as coaches, as staff and do a better job,” Smart said. “We’ve got to help our kids out. I just told everyone in the locker room, you can’t hang your head. They’ve got to go get better. We’ve got to help them get better.
“When you play in the SEC, guys, every week, you’ve got to be at your best because every team is 100 percent capable of out-physicalling you and outplaying you. Today, they played better than we did.”